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Expert advice on advanced diagnosis and treatment of painful headaches and migraines from the leading headache clinic in New Jersey.

Rebound Headaches

New Jersey Headache Institute - Friday, September 20, 2013

Payman Sadeghi, MD

are your painkillers causing you more pain?

Painkillers can be very effective for relieving headaches, but did you know that overuse could be causing rebound headaches?  

According to recent research, up to 1 in 10 people could be suffering frequent headaches because they are taking too much medication or medication too often.

What Are Rebound Headaches?

Rebound headaches, also referred to as painkiller headaches, are headaches experienced after prolonged use of painkillers.  If you have suddenly noticed you are getting more headaches, this problem could simply be due to misuse or overuse of pain medication.  Surprisingly, this problem does not occur in those taking medication for back pain or other painful conditions such as arthritis.

Am I Overusing Painkillers?

Very often people don’t realize they are overusing painkillers. They simply take the recommended dose on the package. But it’s not the dose that is the problem. It is prolonged use of these drugs. If you take painkillers for headaches more than twice a week for more than four months you could be at greater risk of developing rebound headaches.

The problem is that your body begins to get used to the medication. It starts to depend on that medication and when you don’t supply it, a rebound headache occurs. It’s a seemingly never-ending cycle that can result in you taking painkillers whether or not you have a headache…just to stop a rebound headache from occurring!  

Breaking Free Of The Rebound Headache Cycle

The good news is there are ways to break out of the cycle of rebound headaches. At the New Jersey Headache Institute, we have worked closely with patients to help them escape the trap of self medication.  

Firstly, there are a number of painkillers that are known for causing rebound headaches. These include codeine, acetaminophen (paracetamol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen. It is essential that you keep track of the painkillers you are taking and reduce your dosage where possible.  A  headache diary is a great way to do this.  We can help you if you are really finding it hard to stop reaching for the pain pill.  

At the New Jersey Headache Institute, we stay abreast of the latest research on rebound headaches. We can give you expert advice to help you free yourself from pain and reduce your dependence on painkillers.  

Call our specialist consultation team today at 908.315.5707 or use our contact form to book a consultation. Stop the pain and frustration of rebound headaches.

Dr. Payman Sadeghi is the co-founder of the New Jersey Headache Institute. He studied medicine at Nordestana University and finished his Internal Medicine internship and Neurology residency at the University of Texas.  Dr. Sadeghi has completed an electromyography super fellowship as well as many epilepsy and neuroimaging fellowships. At his residency in Neurology at the University of Texas Medical Branch Dr. Sadeghi gained extensive experience diagnosing and treating headache and migraine patients. That residency, along with Dr. Sadeghi's medical curiosity and his varied clinical experience, has made him a specialist in headaches and their treatment.

Dr. Sadeghi was also a clinical assistant professor during his time at the University of Texas. He is a member of the American Headache Society, the National Headache Foundation and the American Academy of Neurology. Dr. Sadeghi is fluent in English, Spanish, French and Persian.


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